The Highs and Lows of Negros Oriental, Philippines

ALL-TIME FAVORITE POST FROM 2011 RE-BLOGGED: I have always been fascinated with Visayas, and every province exudes an undeniable unique charm that i just can't get enough of. I am almost done circumnavigating all the island provinces of Visayas, a little bit more and i am done. After traveling around the mystical island of Siquijor, it's time to see the beauty of Negros Oriental.

Part of the fourth largest island in the Philippines, Negros Oriental will calm you, making you forget the hustle and bustle of city life. Often called a university town because of the popular schools around the province like Siliman, St. Pauls, Negros Oriental State, Negros Oriental breeds young dwellers seeking higher learning. The people here are relatively young and around the city, you could see bunch of men and women laughing, roaming around the beautiful Rizal boulevard. What a delight!

One of the reasons why i made my way to Negros Oriental is because i have heard excellent reviews from people who've been there and from people i know who used to live there. They say the true gem of the province is the people, i never knew the natural wonders were just as unbelievable.

I arrived in Dumaguete International Airport early in the morning. I headed straight to the port a few hours after. After basking some sun, and exploring Siquijor on a motorbike for a few days, i returned to Dumaguete to explore the province. Most of the passengers on the flight i took were locals coming back to celebrate the new year in their hometown while i was the lone traveler from Manila.

Dumaguete is a city but not quite. I find it showing signs of modernism and the bigness of the future, but it's still a simple, laid-back province. I hope it stays that way. I often wake up early in the morning to see the majesty of the mountain ranges. I would walk around in my shorts and sando under the heat of the sun, and ride one of those tricycles if i get tired. Most of the time i find myself wandering around the outskirts of the city, far from the busy streets and the group of people. That, i enjoyed a lot. I often ride the motorbike with my awesome guide/driver/friend and cruise the towns of Valencia, Sibulan and Zamboanguita. As i recall my trip, i am blessed for that one week amazing trip.

The days I spent traveling in Negros Oriental were filled with a lots of adventure. I find myself getting acquainted more and more with the province's culture and the beautiful people. I went to waterfalls, stopped by to see the awesome view beside the cliff, and most of the time doing absolutely ridiculous activities. One night, i wanted to skip drinking so instead of heading to the dive bars along Rizal boulevard, i went to the mall and watched a funny movie. It was an unforgettable experience and i almost found myself living just like one of the locals. I felt great and alive.

I miss Negros Oriental because after months of hectic living in the city, the province painted a beautiful memory in my mind even for a short while. And for that, i will never forget. It was pure bliss, i have to say!

Read the rest of my story about the beautiful province of Negros Oriental in the coming days. Keep posted!

Dōmo arigatō Yoshi for Visiting Me in Manila, Philippines

Last May Brian (New Zealand), Anieka (England) and Baz (Australia) came to the Philippines just in time for my birthday. The last time they were here, we went to heaps of places around the metro and even went to Boracay. It was hell lot of fun. It felt like i was traveling also which is good for someone like me who cannot travel 12 months every year. So now that Yoshi is confirmed to be going to the Philippines, that makes him my fourth foreign visitor. I love friends coming over to the Philippines. There's a great feeling of being you know... "special" that friends will actually take time, spend some money and travel thousands of miles just to hang out with me and visit my beautiful country.

As i said, when Yoshi went to Manila, he came bearing gifts.

It was an immense feeling. Hey c'mon we're all backpackers here and we all know every cent counts. But still, he took time out to buy something for me and my friend. That is very thoughtful of him. But of course who wouldn't be excited to receive gifts. C'mon right? Let's open it shall we.

He actually gave me two different gifts. One is something edible and the other one is something i could literally display in my room which i love. My room is small but i display my most prized possessions which includes photos i took from around the world, investment on art pieces, among other things.

He said i would love it. First thing that comes to mind. FOOD. Who doesn't love food?>

After downing a couple of bottles of beer that night in 77, i needed to eat something. So there i was opening Yoshi's gift to his beloved Filipino friend. Everyone, meet my best friend every night for the week till i literally ate everything, maybe a few given to my mom and my sisters.

...Kamome No Tamago (かもめの玉子). This is a type of bean cake designed to resemble an egg ("tamago" is the Japanese word for egg, kamome refers to a seagull). A standard package (pictured below) of the regular variety includes 6 "eggs" for about 525 yen ($4.80 USD). The standard eggs are about the size of an actual large egg. They are filled with yellow beans and covered in a thin shell of cake with a thin covering of "white chocolate" (not really chocolate). They are mildly sweet and make a satisfying snack.

Source from here

I am not really good with food reviews. It's either i like it or not. And this one is One Big Like! The other gift my friend gave me is a mad Japanese Samurai Soldier Toy. I forgot how it is called. I've mistaken it for transformers at first sight. Either way, it's a figurine that showcases Japan's biggest contribution to the world - awesome toys. 

NOTE: If you have any idea what this is or what it is called, feel free to comment down below so i would not be calling him bad ass badboy anymore. 

So Yoshi did brave the Northern Luzon region and experienced Banaue Rice Terraces. A few months before, he already told me there's one place he wants to see in the Philippines and that is the terraces so i am pretty sure he's dead set on that one. He came back to Manila armed with interesting stories and so many awesome adventures to tell. First one, his tour guide in Banaue is named none other than... Jerik, same as my name. And Yoshi told me he was a very good guide, friendly and very honest. Like all Jeriks in the world are. Before he left, i made a thorough research of Banaue and suggested he visit a couple of places. Advised him of prices and how to haggle and not be tricked. He stayed in a good hotel fronting the terraces and had very delicious Filipino food. He also made new friends, a couple of westerners, Filipino tourists, family staying beside his room, etc. He arrived middle of the night. At around 3AM, i got a call saying he was dropped off by the bus in Cubao and i said, well then good as it's nearer in my place in QC. He told me the taxi driver was charging him for P900. What the hell???? I told my friend, hand that taxi driver your phone but keep an eye on him. And i told the driver that the going rate from anywhere in Cubao to my place is not more than a hundred pesos. After a few taxi drivers went by, someone agreed on the normal price. Good thing Yoshi mentioned he has a Filipino friend who has advised him of the prices. So folks, if you're traveling to the Philippines just say i know the prices and...

When Yoshi arrived. Never ending stories, left and right. He couldn't contain his excitement sharing his brief but well worth trip to the mountains. His gorgeous photos of Banaue Rice Terraces were so amazing, i felt really bad i didn't go. One with him, two that i haven't visited it yet. If folks like Yoshi who's not from here can appreciate the immense beauty of the Philippines, so should we Filipinos right?

At round 5AM, we were watching TV and so many stories were shared how it is in Japan and how it is in the Philippines. It was good catching up and sharing what's going on with our lives for the past seven months.

Basically, he told me how fast paced life is in Japan particularly in Tokyo and Kyoto where he lives. He works on odd hours. I assume because of the weather and temperature he's studying. I don't know. He told me how expensive it is in Japan even for him. Imagine his round trip flight from Tokyo to Manila was around $1500. He also said that Japanese people are really bad in English. It's so hard to study. Because unlike how English is spoken and written with subject and then verb,  Nihoŋɡo is spoken and written with no fixed order. Like for example the verb comes first followed by the greeting then the subject last. Apart from the hard course on English, Japanese people really don't like to travel outside the country. Yeah you could see Japanese tourists in Paris, London, but instead more Japanese choose to travel within their own country because they feel not being able to speak in English outside will give them such a hard time. So what they do instead is buy all the expensive material things. Yeah all the Vuittons and latest gadgets.

We talked about so many things. And it was very nice talking to him and exchanging notes. Instead of him getting to know more about my country, i was very curious listening to his stories of Japan. After a few hours of talking. I got up and got my Lonely Planet Asia Book and flipped on Japan. 

There he was guiding me photo by photo - how fun it is to hike up Mt. Fuji, how expensive it is to ride the bullet train, how i could possibly take a photo with a Geisha someday but Yoshi being brutally honest with me spending a night with one will cost me a fortune, how cheaper it is to stay in love hotels than in lofts and hotel rooms, how porn is sold alongside coca cola in can on a vendo machine. So many things. I am literally wandering at 7AM. 

We were waiting for his flight back to Tokyo scheduled at around 2PM. We went down to the dining room for lunch. During this time he got to see the rest of my house. My house filled with lovely furniture and a comfortable couch. My photos together with family pictures and swarovski crystals. He sat on the couch and said, "you have a very lovely house". I could literally see through his eyes how much he is loving the feeling of living in the Philippines. He got to eat "Paksiw na Isda" and "Giniling na Baboy" and as soon as i introduced him to my mom, she hugged Yoshi like her own son. 

We got out of the house for a bit and smoked. It was sunny, almost scorching because of the midday sun, the total opposite of the temperature now where he is from. While he's on his usual weatherman vest and cargo pants, he walked for a bit looking around my village and he even took a photo of my house and asked if i could have his photo taken with the house too. I said, yeah sure man!

A few hours after, the taxi arrived not going to the airport but to the MRT station. Yoshi is pretty damn good roaming around Manila already. He rode the MRT from Quezon Avenue to Taft and rode short taxi to Terminal 2. So i told myself, i think i did a very good job familiarizing Yoshi with the city.

He only had about a few hundred pesos in his wallet. Yet, he still managed to save some for souvenir coins. Good job, my friend.

I went back to my room and opened again my book. As i was reading it, NHK was on cable showing the benefits of having a good spacious kitchen. He commented this network doesn't have good ratings in Japan. It's very serious, he said. I leafed through the different pages of Japan. Capital City Tokyo. When will i be able to go there, i asked myself? Hmmm... that i am very much looking forward to doing.

I remembered Yoshi borrowing my pen and saying he is going to write something. Before he left he taught me a little 101 on Nihoŋɡo. I remember some, but half of which i am still trying to dig deep in my brain how i was able to speak it with him then and now. My bad. He gave me a piece of paper with the Japanese alphabet and i thought this is one of the best gifts I've ever received in my life. As soon as he left, i was back to speaking broken Japanese words most of which i think are wrong and admiring the majesty of Mt. Fuji.

If there's one thing i sincerely learned from Yoshi is his humility. With all of us, and i mean i think everyone can agree, Japan is on the top lists of must travel destinations in the world. Who wouldn't want to stay in high tech hotels, dress like fashion forward street stylists and just walk around the top country of Asia? This man lives there, right in the epicenter of the future of technology. Yet, i've never seen Yoshi more happy and alive as when he was here in Manila, in a third world country, in seemingly chaotic city like Manila. When he sat in the couch with his arms folded to the back of his head on that hot sunny day day that he was leaving, i already knew this man would come back to the Philippines. For sure.

In one of our talks, i told him how it is to live in the Philippines, money yes can buy you all the luxuries in the world but here money is just part of a circle as the world turns. We have problems, most of which are about trying to still live till the next day apart from the crucial life and death matters of the Filipino mass, but still we laugh about it. We fuckin' laugh our problems off.  Heck, we're one of the happiest people in the world. 

He asked me when am i going to Japan???

I answered I don't think i can anytime soon. I don't have money. And i started laughing.

Trekking Above the Clouds in Negros Oriental, Philippines

I often wonder what it is like to be up there. You know, when you look up from the bottom, all you could see are vast empty spaces of nothingness. All you could see are green patches of the unknown. And all you could ask yourself is when will you be there?

I have a confession to make. I am not a fan of  wild adventures in the mountains. As much as i would want to consider the activity, i often find myself choosing more to sit by the coconut tree and swim in azure waters than to torture myself from trekking. I am one lazy traveler, i know. And I live for the ocean.

If you would read my stories of the places i have visited, whether it is in the Philippines like GuimarasAntiqueCebu or Bohol or around Asia like Thailand and Cambodia, it's mostly about beaches.  I never knew my concept of an awesome adventure would change when i went to Negros Oriental

Trips going to the mountains aren't always 100% safe. There's a risk of high-altitude sickness or if you're unlucky - falling debris from soft rocks, landslides and of course, manual error from your driver/guide as you rip those improbable roads. Before, i always ask myself why would people risk their lives for a few hours up there? Maybe, it's all part of the adventure making the trip to the top so much sweeter. Maybe.
I love to commune with my surroundings but i guess it's a totally different experience when you're up there, up above the mountains. As i look back at my trip to Negros, I discovered I was actually cruising most of the time, at about 1000 meters above sea level. I couldn't imagine myself up there, on a motorbike. Others have conquered the best of heights. I actually got inspired by a story from a fellow travel blogger, Claire of Lakwatsera De Primera with her story about Mt.Guiting-Guiting in Romblon, plus another travel blogger/colleague of mine, Patti of Life's My Trip who's just finished a trek at the Taroko gorge in Taiwan.  These two are just some of the many amazing people who live to share their experiences. These brave and courageous travelers continue to fuel my passion for traveling, and at greater heights.

This trip in Negros Oriental was an incredible experience that i live to remember forever. With ears popping and cold mist of the wind touching my skin, i will definitely do it again in a heartbeat. 

My fondest memory of Negros was when i stopped by at this very spot. As the engine of the motorbike stopped, the hypnotic sounds of nature became more familiar to my ears. The water from the falls. The flock of birds chirping. The soft sound of the wind from the east. I imagined what would it be like if i live here. I thought of sleeping to the lullaby of the angry howls of the mountain winds, and waking up to the warm rays of the eastern sun. It seemed perfect for me, one i never knew i always wanted. I watched as the little kids play amidst it's killer cliffs to the side, and old men sitting by the dilapidated bench a few steps away from falling down the ravine. I signed my guide to wait a little while, I was having such a grand time. This is unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Sometimes, i think about what if i give myself a month to live in the mountains. How will i change? What will my life be? Would i still be fascinated with the ocean, or shall i opt to live together near the clouds?

The irony of it all is whether you're down in the shore or on top of the ridge, your imagination runs free in circles. You start to wander in spectacle. And you end up hoping in the end. You imagine yourself there, curious and eager for realizations to unfold . 

"I was high above the mountains and all i could think of is what's waiting for me down there... will always be there... just waiting for me."

Traveling to Boac in Marindue, Philippines During the Moriones Festival

You will not travel far from Gasan to Boac, but this short distance will lead you to big differences in terms of its surroundings. Boac is so much different from the former. The streets are wider, the nightlife is... well, uhm, there's a nightlife. There's an internet shop and high sugar orange drinks by the cup and what have you. For a city boy or a city girl, Boac is your place to go to in Marinduque.

But amidst its modernism, Boac, a first class municipality, is still equipped with the Authentic "Old" local flavor. Imagine, the houses are still standing after about a hundred years and well nothing much changed in terms of the people. 

You will be surprised that Boac can accommodate any traveler with any kind of budget. There's bigwigs like Boac Hotel and there's little alleys where you can find spartan rooms - cheap accommodations like pension houses and lodging houses. Restaurants are aplenty in the main streets and choices are varied from the local cuisine to baked macaroni which is really good. No Joke!

Our national Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal in front of the town plaza. It's also the hub of Boac Tourism as the office is here. For travelers roaming around Boac and are lost, find Jose Rizal and from there you can ask, not from him of course, but from the many gentlemen who will assist you of your itinerary.

Chipped off but proud, Dr. Jose Rizal stands still in remembrance of how a Filipino once was regarded a HERO. If there's any province i think that's more Filipino, it has to be here in Marinduque.

One of the most popular restuarants around Boac is "Kusina sa Plaza" which serves authentic Filipino cuisine and of course the highly popular Baked Macaroni. Mercader St., Boac, tel: +6342/ 332 1699

Now, it's time to chase the Morions!

Since the parade of the Morions didn't go exactly with my schedule because i was at the beach or i was riding the tricycle, i knew i needed to see for myself up close and personal the Morions so i chased the last remaining costume wearers along the streets of Boac. The story is they were out visiting shops, houses, restaurants like this "caroling" asking for donations. 

The Moriones Festival is known widely as one of the most colorful festivals celebrated on the island of Marinduque and the Philippines. Morion means "mask" or "visor," a part of the medieval Roman armor which covers the face. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus. Morions roam the streets in town from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday scaring the kids, or engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Saint Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye. The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage. The observances form part of the Lenten celebrations of Marinduque. The various towns also hold the unique tradition of the pabasa or the recitation of Christ's passion in verse.[2] Then at three o'clock on Good Friday afternoon, the Santo Sepulcro is observed, whereby old women exchange verses based on the Bible as they stand in wake of the dead Christ. One of the highlights of this festival is the Via Crucis. A re-enactment of the suffering of Christ on his way to the calvary. Men inflict suffering upon themselves by whipping their backs, carrying a wooden cross and sometimes even crucifixion. They see this act as their form of atonement for their sins. This weeklong celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday. [3]

Boac Town Plaza in Brgy. San Miguel where everything happens - live concerts, parties, fiestas, etc.

Of course, how can i not end the day in Beautiful Boac without ordering a bottle of ice cold beer. This is one of the many little spots littered on the back streets/alleys of Boac. Surprisingly, there's a crowd of many men and women (mostly Mrinduque born manila based) who drink till the wee hours of the morning and who order grilled food.

I stayed until 5AM. Although this particular stop wasn't exactly pure fun because of some things i would like to forget, i would like to disregard all bad vibes from this trip and focus on the wonders it brought me. Boac is a place i will never forget, true, but its also the place where i will certainly remember because i learned. "You cannot really judge the book by its cover." The people of Boac are warm-hearted. And since i'm not from Marinduque, i would like to be one!

Where to Go in Boac:
Marinduque Museum-Brgy. Malusak
Boac Old Houses-Poblacion
Kabugsakan Falls-Brgy. Tugos
Ginaras Falls and Duyay Caves-Brgy. Duyay
Butterfly Farms-Brgy. Bunganay, Cawit and Amoingon
Hinulugan Falls-Brgy. Sabong

13 Recommended Activities for your Japanese Friend Visiting Manila in the Philippines

This is a very late post but nonetheless a very memorable one. Rewind to July 2009, i met a Japanese traveler in Saigon, Vietnam when i was backpacking there. He was traveling in Saigon for three days and two nights. Flew in straight from Tokyo and back. Wow. Whattafasttraveler!!! We met in one of the Mekong River boat rides. After which, i tagged him with us wandering around the city the next few days. Grabbing dinner, getting lost in the lingeries street of Ho Chih Minh City and losing in translation ordering fried spring rolls and Saigon beer - a very very funny incident. I need to meet up with you to tell the actual story. 

A few months later, we got in touch and he told me he was coming to the Philippines. Before i left for Thailand in February he said he is booked and flying to Manila a few days after i arrive from my own backpacking trip. Heck, this was fun. It will feel like i never stopped traveling at all. So here comes Yoshi, my Japanese friend getting lost in the middle of Terminal 2 where international flights arriving in the Philippines are located. If you have a Japanese friend coming over, try to assist them because English is quite a problem with them. Good thing my buddy went to the US for a while just to study conversational English.  Me and my friend were waiting for him for close to an hour and a half and still no sign of him. People around know what time JAL flights arrive in Manila so basically, it's either we lost him and he's left already or he didn't make the flight. Of course he did. He just got lost. Getting out on the second floor where the expensive taxis are. 

T'was a long time last seeing each other but nothing has changed. We're still same old, same old funny and random people. Yoshi is the kind of guy you know you're rest assured he's not gonna bring you trouble. Little background, my good friend works in the weather station in Tokyo. So it's safe to say he's the Japanese version of Kuya Kim.

We got him a loft type bedroom near my home in Quezon City so it's easier to hang out for us. Also, in case he needs anything, we're fifteen minutes away from him. Dropped his bags. Exchanged gifts and we're off to drink. He is only traveling in the Philippines for about four days. Two days and one night will be spent in Banaue studying the crops and agriculture. His thing. So that leaves little amount of time exploring Manila. The night is young! Off we go!

For those who have foreigner friends visiting Manila, read the following itinerary on traveling around Manila for one whole day. It just took my Japanese friend one day of hanging out with a mad man like me, and in the end he was getting more and more Filipino.

Step 1. The National Sport of the Filipinos is "Gulp"! 
So we grabbed a few beers in a favorite bar of mine - where you don't have to get really dressed up to get in, where you don't have to pay P120 (almost $3) for a beer and where you can laugh as loud as you can. The name of the place is 77. I introduced Yoshi to my best friend for life (BFF) San Miguel!

Step 2. Introduce Filipino Food Little by Little
You know what most people say about Filipino food. Weird. Whatever. So we were looking at the menu what to eat. He wanted to eat pizza. Why not Longganisa (Chinese sausage) Pizza? It was great! Mix of West and Filipino. Good choice. 

Left the place around 4AM. Whattanight. The next day my friend MM and Yoshi met up and went around Manila while i was still having a really good sleep.

Step 3: Filipino Time (Don't Know if This is a Good Tip)
Got up by noon and immediately set off to meet up with Yoshi at Manila Ocean Park. I am not a big commuter but apparently i was eager to try the hard way going here. MRT, jeepney, taxi when i got there, it felt like i didn't shower at all. But that's another story. I was three hours late. Sorry. Hello Manila Bay!!! Nice to see you again!!! 

Step 4: Manila Sunset
When you're in Manila Ocean Park, don't forget to check out White Moon and order a bottle of beer while checking out the gorgeous bay. They say sunsets are killer around the spot here.

Step 5: Introduce Local Transportation
The National Car of the Philippines - the famous Sarao Jeepney. Read the history of the Jeepney below to find out how Jeepneys were invented with so much craftsmanship and genius.

There's no better souvenir for my Japanese friend than a photo of him riding some pimpin' jeepney! Which i tried also... haha

Step 6: Cool Off
If you still didn't know, it's scorching hot in Manila. And what better way to cool off than to order everyone's childhood love,"dirty ice cream". Unfortunately there's none being sold at the park. Although a good substitute is eating the "Halo-Halo", a Filipino dessert made up of milk with crushed ice, coconut, beans, and assorted fruits. We had that in Chowking,a local Chinese fast food, a few hours after.

While Yoshi was getting more Filipino by the hour. We were enjoying Japan's gift to the world. Arcade and Video Games, of course. It's surreal that he was translating everything to us. And this particular text below is not right.

Step 7: Filipinos are Big on Spas
While walking around the Ocean Park, we noticed many people around one miniscule pool. Well, it is the Fish Spa. A growing trend around here in Manila. Where people can dump their feet on the pool and let the fish scrub out dead skin cells. WTF. Just went for a look, i don't really recommend it. Just not interesting to me. But it might be fun to some.

Meanwhile to the right of Spa... we spotted some angry creatures... Hey, Jaws 1 and 2! 

Step 8: Make a fool of yourselves.
We Filipinos are one of the happiest people on earth because we don't take ourselves seriously. We love life. We love to laugh. We live to enjoy life. What better way to show Yoshi that attitude than posing in front of a photo booth looking like clowns. FOR FREE!

Before the shots were taken...

After the shots were taken. We were all laughing so hard at what we just did. Gave the copy to Yoshi. Good souvenir of the fun times in the Philippines and will make a very nice display in his office too.

Step 9: Attack the Mall
If you're a Filipino and not doing anything for the day, there's a 80% chance you're headed to the mall. Right? Right! Some even go to the mall everyday: to eat, to watch a movie, to hang out, to shop, to have a haircut, etc. This is Mall of Asia, not the biggest mall in the Philippines - only second to SM North Edsa and one of the biggest in the world.

This was the view from inside the mall. WOW!

Step 10: Beautiful GirlHands down!!!

The Globe of "Mall of Asia". The whole time we were there, i was just singing... Mall of Asia... Truly Asia!

Step 11: The Best Place to Go to in Manila is the Baywalk
It is the home to one of the world's most famous sunsets, home to where families gather, lovers express their love and poets like me love to write. The viewing deck to dying sun.

Looks like Yoshi is slowly becoming more at home in Manila. What's nice around Mall of Asia  complex and around is that it's slowly now becoming more open to advertising tourism. 

Step 12: Buy Filipino 
Yoshi also bought a good pair of cargo pants from Bench which he can use for work. It is not only cheap but of good quality. Support Local products.

I know my Japanese friend really enjoyed his visit in Manila Bay, just wandering around the huge complex, he could see the sights and different colors and he could feel the energy and warmth of the people. This is Manila. I am very proud and happy to be touring him around a city i fuckin' love.

"Some tourists going to the Philippines may find Manila stressful after a few days but for those who chose to stay, they are rewarded with an unbelievable energy that will change their lives forever!"

Step 13: Chat up and drink some more
We Filipinos love talking. Conversations last from an hour to a day. So we took Yoshi to one of the last remaining oldie bars/restaurants in Malate and ordered Sisig (don't ask me about its English translation, better left unknown), buttered chicken, garlic rice and three buckets of San Miguel. And started chatting up till the wee hours. 

It was fun hanging out with Yoshi here in Manila. He's my first Japanese traveler friend. Wandering around Manila with him felt like i was traveling, too. And as much as i wanted to go with him to Banaue because i haven't been there, i was a good son and obeyed my parents. I think he understood. That's the way it goes around here in the Philippines. Family is important to us Filipinos. And whatever decision we make, we always consult our family. 

So off we go to drive Yoshi to the bus station bound for Banaue. When we got to the station, we saw a few passengers seated already, most of them foreigners like him eager to discover the 8th Wonder of the World.

Armed with one whole day of experiencing the Philippines, i bet he has enough confidence to rule Northern Luzon. Cheers!

Up next: When Yoshi was in town he came bearing gifts!